Jamestown shows its love for Leno

A massive crowd filled every seat in the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena on Saturday evening to listen to the laid-back comedy of late-night legend Jay Leno, and to rock to the beat of Lucie Arnaz and her nightclub act.

Arnaz began the show, looking great in a short black mini-dress. Even into her 70s, Lucille Ball was famed for her gorgeous legs and her daughter proved she inherited all the right genes.

She clearly shaped her show to her mother’s hometown audience, explaining her full name and its origins. She said she was named by her father, who waited until her mother had fallen asleep after her birth, then wrote the name Lucie Desiree Arnaz on her birth certificate while her mother had planned to name her Susan.

She even did a song she had written which she promised answered the vast majority of the questions she is asked when she meets new people, especially, “Was she like that at home? No.” The rule is that “Lucie” is the daughter, “Lucy” is the television character and “Lucille” was the woman born in Jamestown who went on to become the Queen of Comedy.

The performer sang and danced. She punctuated “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” by playing a bugle and a number of percussion instruments.

At the end of her segment of the show, she said that she had to sing one more song because she knew that when she got to the post-performance reception everyone she spoke with would ask why she had sung a number of songs made famous by her father, but she hadn’t sung any of her mother’s hits.

She laughingly suggested people try to think of a list of songs made famous by her mother, but then she admitted there is one, so she sang a slow, thoughtful arrangement of “Hey, Look Me Over,” from the Broadway show “Wildcat,” which her mother headlined on Broadway.

She reported she herself is now in rehearsal to be a headliner in the national tour of the Broadway smash revival, “Pippin.”

Following that, she introduced Leno as “the most huggable guy on television,” and Leno strode onto the stage, much as he did from 1992 to February of this year as the host of “The Tonight Show” on NBC.

Dapper in a dark suit, he delivered his humor in an easy, conversational style. Much of his material was based upon commentary on news items he has read in newspapers, magazines and other media.

“I read in ‘The Advocate,’ our country’s largest publication for gay men, that the gayest city in America is Salt Lake City,” he said. “I always thought that religion was ‘Morman,’ but it turns out it’s ‘More Man.'”

He described a boycott which has been organized against Walmart stores, by people who complain that they sell teenage girls’ underwear with sexy terms written on them.

“It’s just my opinion, but if someone is close enough to read your daughter’s underpants, it’s too late,” he said.

Leno said he had watched a game in the World Cup recently.

“I turned my head for one hour, and missed the most important parts,” he said.

This launched discussion of the fact that our country has adopted any number of unusual sports.

“Take competitive eating,” he suggested. “This is the only country in the world where you consume 300 chicken wings and that makes you an athlete. And yet, we still can’t accept soccer.”

Leno described the efforts of zoo officials to stop monkeys from grabbing cellphones out of people’s hands, and suggested the monkeys shouldn’t be discouraged, they should be trained to do it more aggressively, then taken to restaurants, libraries and other public places.

A newspaper’s feature on “Playboy” publisher Hugh Hefner’s 88th birthday led to a description of his new, young wife as engaging in “Bedpanning for gold.”

Medical subjects occupied a large part of Leno’s act. He discussed ads for medications on television and how the list of possible side effects always seems worse than the condition the medications are supposed to cure. He described one pill which might cause explosive diarrhea and wondered how many conditions might be worse than that.

That led to a piece he had read which suggested that obesity might be caused by a virus.

“Imagine guys calling their boss and calling in fat,” he said.

Leno ended by saying that the last time he had seen Lucille Ball, it was in Beverly Hills, and she was just coming out of a beauty parlor. He said he hurried up behind her and made a comment about the shock of seeing hookers on the street in Beverly Hills. He said she wheeled around, recognized him, and burst into laughter.

“I’m proud to say, I made Lucy laugh,” he said.